SAINTS’ Challenge Cup semi-final history is littered with controversy, talking points and equal measures of disappointment and exhilaration – so in these very strange times it was re-assuring to see another chapter added to that book of knockout folklore.

The last hurdle to clear before Wembley has traditionally always been a tough one, as those fans who stood on the crumbling Fartown terraces to watch Saints squeak past Keighley by a point in 1976 will testify.

St Helens Star:

A place at Wembley means the stakes are always so high, higher still for a Saints side that has not lifted this trophy since 2008, so it was understandable that there were jitters in the early parts of Saturday’s performance when Hull FC came out big and aggressively.

But those early nerves were nothing compared to the kittens that the fans began to have from the 65th minute, going from mentally walking up a sun-baked Wembley Way to watching a side clinging on in sheer desperation.

St Helens Star:

Immediately after Theo Fages’ drop goal had given Saints a three-score lead, the game was thrown back into the melting pot as soon as Hull retrieved the ball from the short kick off.

Tries from Danny Houghton and Cameron Scott cut the deficit to a mere three points, and the screw was turned to excruciating levels when Josh Reynolds sneaked a 40/20 to launch yet another attack on the under-siege Saints line.

St Helens Star:

The Black and White tails were up,but Jake Connor’s pass was snaffled by Regan Grace and it was Goodnight Vienna.

Lachlan Coote added the icing on the cake three minutes later to make it 33-18, as those fans in the LSV stands rattled through their repertoire of Wembley songs.

St Helens Star:

Even prior to the thrilling finale, Fages’ try, after picking up the ball tossed away by injured Hull centre Josh Griffin, had already made sure the game would be remembered.

Having long had an issue with big knockout games, particularly in semi-finals, it looks like that particular monkey is off their back now.

Saints: Coote; Makinson, Naiqama, Welsby, Grace; Lomax, Fages; Walmsley, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Thompson, Mata’utia, Knowles. Subs: Amor, Batchelor, Dodd, Norman.

Hull FC: Connor; Fonua, Tuimavave, Griffin, Swift; Reynolds, Sneyd; Sao, Houghton, Satae, Savelio, Ma’u, Lane. Subs: Bowden, Brown, Scott, Fash.

Ref: Liam Moore.

Pictures: Bernard Platt.